If you want to get to Mars, you’re going to need to implode a few prototype starliners along the way. Or at least that’s what Elon Musk is likely hoping after watching SpaceX’s latest Starship prototype undergoing cryo proof testing this morning. He certainly seems to have maintained his sense of humor.
It’s one thing for us Monday morning rocket scientists to provide acerbic wit to go alongside explosive video, but it’s a whole other thing for the head of the world’s premiere private space travel company that built the would-be Mars traveler to do so — particularly after its Starship prototype blew up so grandly at the Boca Chica facility in Texas early this morning.
Oh well, nothing a little Flextape won't fix...
And then you can just "buff it out" ...
While the explosion certainly looks serious, sometimes that's what these prototype tests are expected to do. We already saw similar fireworks (though perhaps not quite as dramatic) back in November when the Starship Mk1 prototype blew its top during pressurization testing.
Today's prototype was named SN1 (may she RIP), meaning SpaceX has already made design tweaks and moved onto a new range of prototype testing, which Musk noted back in December could see improvements that run through SN20.
So worry not, intrepid space travellers, as Musk sure doesn't seem to be. It's all just part of the many stages of planning and testing involved in creating a reusable, nearly 400-foot spacecraft planned for travel to Earth's orbit, the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
With Starship scheduled to undergo orbital testing later this year, its first operational flights launching commercial communications satellites as early as 2021, and Moon-destined travel expected by 2023, we'll likely see a lot more impressive testing along the way.
Hopefully, Musk will live tweet those as well.